The nature of air flow about the tail of an airplane in a spin

N. F. Scudder, M. P. Miller
May 1932

Air flow about the fuselage and empennage during a high-angle-of-attack spin was made visible in flight by means of titanium-tetrachloride smoke and was photographed with a motion-picture camera. The angular relation of the direction of the smoke streamer to the airplane axes was computed and compared with the angular direction of the motion in space derived from instrument measurement of the spin of the airplane for a nearly identical mass distribution. The results showed that the fin and upper part of the rudder were almost completely surrounded by dead air, which would render them inoperative; that the flow around the lower portion of the rudder and the fuselage was nonturbulent; and that air flowing past the cockpit in a high-angle-of-attack spin could not subsequently flow around control surfaces.

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